Ian McIntosh's predictions hold more water than octopuses
Paul used his tentacles to grab balls with a team name written on them that had been lowered into his tank. He was also pretty handy at calling the Durban July horse race.
Sadly Paul expired a little while ago but he left behind a youngster (still to be named) who has apparently inherited his clairvoyance skills.
Yesterday, a local newspaper in Durban asked Paul’s prodigy to pick the winner of the quarter-final between the Springboks and Japan.
The traitor three times picked the red and white ball of Japan but before an outraged local turns Paul’s pal into sushi, we should bear in mind that the Japanese have also been in on this particular act.
Octopuses are an integral part of Japanese cuisine - they find their way into a host of different dishes - and are held in high esteem.
Hilariously, their octopus has predicted a South African win while his South African cousin is calling Japan.
The Japanese mollusc enjoyed fame for picking the home team to beat Ireland but since then he has predicted only Japanese losses Naturally, his fans will be hoping his run of bad calls continues!
Former Springbok coach Ian McIntosh is no octopus, but is a recent octogenarian and his sage opinions on the quarter-finals carry considerably more water.
Mac told me yesterday that in the Springbok game he expects a carbon copy of what happened in the friendly between the sides a month ago (the Boks won 41-7 in Tokyo). The Boks forwards will get on top and prevent the hosts from playing their natural game.
The bookies, by the way, agree and have the Boks as 5-1 favourites.
On the New Zealand-Ireland game, Mac sees little trouble for NZ.
“There is something not right with the Irish team maybe it is because their coach (Joe Schmidt) is leaving. The Ireland side of a year or so ago would have had a good shout, but not this one.”
Mac says the structured game of a Wales team that has been together for a long time will prevail over France.
“Although it was interesting to hear what Scott Spedding (the South African who has recently retired from the French team) said on TV at the weekend,” Mac observed.
“He spoke of (alleged) discontent between the players and the coach, but if the players decide to pull together and play for themselves, they could do something special.”
The one quarter-final in which Mac sees a strong possibility of an upset is England versus Australia.
“The Aussies are better than many people think. There is not much between Wales and England and (early in the World Cup) Australia lost narrowly to Wales (25-29) having been reffed out of the game (by Frenchman Roman Poite).